Niagara College has signed an agreement with Bioenterprise, Canada’s Food & Agri-Tech Engine, combining the resources of two organizations with the mandate of supporting Canada’s small to medium-sized enterprises to drive economic growth in key areas such as agri-food, precision agriculture, horticulture and greenhouse technologies, environmental analysis, and sustainability solutions.
Bioenterprise will help to connect innovative companies from across the country to the technology and resources offered through the Research & Innovation division, which has three specialized applied research facilities, including the Canadian Food & Wine Institute Innovation Centre, the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre and the Agriculture & Environmental Technologies Innovation Centre.
“Our renewal of the MOU with Niagara College is a continuation of a much longer working relationship,” says Alexandra Coccari, Program Manager at Bioenteprise, “A number of scaling SMEs from our network will benefit from the resources offered at the college. The collaboration between Niagara College and Bioenterprise will continue to create a sector-wide impact that will not only strengthen the track record of great services from our organizations but bolster Canadian leadership in food and agri-tech innovation.
“As we move forward with our programs and prioritize our service offerings for industry, we look to partners such as Bioenterprise for additional visibility and a pipeline of companies looking to access those resources,” says Carolyn Mullin, Associate Director, Research Partnerships. “This type of collaboration is a longstanding strategy for extending our reach and combining the expertise of our organizations.
NC’s Research & Innovation division pairs students, graduates and faculty researchers with their partner SMEs to work on their innovation challenges, such as bringing new products to market, testing new growing media, or making their operations more productive. For example, the horticulture team recently worked with a company to test the efficacy of adding silica as a biostimulant to cannabis soil.
This partnership is reignited by a suite of new projects from Bioenterprise’s SmartGrowth Program, which brings together industry, academic, and service providers in food and agricultural innovation space to support scaling businesses. Meanwhile, Niagara College and the Research and & Innovation Centres continue to deliver exciting new programs and opportunities, such as the development of the Beverage Centre of Excellence. Thanks to recent federal funding, the college will expand its resources to focus on feasibility studies (pre- and post-market services and risk assessments); beverage research and product development (innovative processes and incorporation of key market trends); consumer acceptance and quality assurance; and conducting research test-runs through a small-batch, scale-up beverage processing laboratory.